Food Shortage or Increased Prices This Fall

David Trammel's picture

I'm not sure about other people and their gardens. Mine is just now getting completely planted. Its just been too wet to get anything into the ground, though the plants I got in back in March are really doing well. A minor inconvenience for me, but a big problem for Midwest farmers.

Crop Catastrophe In The Midwest – Latest USDA Crop Progress Report Indicates That A Nightmare Scenario Is Upon Us

The repeated storms and wet weather has kept the ground too soaked to plant. By this time American farmers should have a majority of the Summer crops planted but they don't.

And its not just the United States, all across the World similar weather conditions are disrupting agriculture as usual.

Global food crisis ahead as extreme weather events devastate crops and fields around the world

Could we be facing a Fall and Winter of higher food prices and shortages?

meta4's picture

Supposedly there is enough other grain inputs that there won't be much of a price increase. We'll see; I wouldn't be surprised if the public-facing messaging was infulenced to thwart setting off panic hording. Really need to keep up with my deep pantry..

Justin Patrick Moore's picture

It hasn't gotten hot enough down here in SW Ohio for the tomatoes to take off, though it seems they and the zuch will do fine once it gets hot. My beets look pretty good. The radishes didn't turn out the way I thought, but I'd never grown them before. They bolted before the radish itself got very big. I heard from some folks in Indiana that the farmers there haven't planted because its been too wet, so yeah, a price hike in produce seems in store. It has been very wet and though I enjoy these mid-70s temps in June on a a physical comfort level , it is unseasonable. The farmers should have been able to plant by now. It is a good reminder to keep the pantry stocked. My wife runs a kitchen for a school so she is very aware of price fluctuations in food. We discussed this and what the prices might be in fall when school starts back up.

It might be time to look at Carol Deppe's book: The Resilient Gardener: Food Production & Self Reliance in Uncertain Times again. ( ) It deals a lot with these types of issues as well as types of grains, potatoes etc. to grow for calories. (Tomato & zuchini while good... probably won't provide enough carbs to burn.!)

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I have not quite finished reading this book. It is a good one and reminds me of Steve Solomon's "Gardening When it Counts." He is another curmudgeonly gardener.

I ordered seed from Ms. Deppe, and while my check was cashed, no seed has arrived. Such is the problem with overwhelmed enterprises. I have sent an email asking about my order, but no response, so I will send a self addressed postcard with a fill in the blank as to when they will ship. It looks like she responds to some extend to real mail.

On your radishes, were they planted too closely? I have noticed that if I don't thin them, they will bolt before forming a root.

We have had a wet, wet spring here in the mountain west desert. Now that it is warming up, the large snow pack is melting quickly and flooding is starting to occur.

My garden buddy and I got the garden planted between wet spells and many things are doing well It is warm enough, finally, that the summer crops are starting to take off. In fact, it looks very promising for crop production. The winter was cold enough that many bugs were killed and the spring was wet enough that seeds have enough moisture to grow.

I heard that mid-west farmers were having problems, but, and this may be a question based on my own ignorance, with so much of our food imported, will we see much of a price spike? I would have thought the tariffs would have a greater effect.

ClareBroommaker's picture

It's been too wet for me, too! I have a major invasion of bermuda grass that I have to defeat before I put in some of my squash and sweet potatoes. I don't mind delaying the sweet potatoes because we have a long enough season, and I wanted to delay the squash to avoid prime squash bug season. But the rain has kept me from the bermuda digging, so soil prep is way behind. Only have in ground tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, kohlrabi, sweet peas (almost finished now). Really wish I had pole beans planted. Have other things languishing in pots and cell packs.

I have not been out to the country where the big corn and soy fields are, have you David? I'm curious to see them. A little milo sorghum, barley, and wheat is grown around here. They'd all have the same planting problems. Or some wheat might have spoiled in the field.

Back yard gardeners have some of the same problems as mega farmers. At least I don't have any tractors sinking in the saturated soil. I threw out boards on top of the soil to facilitate a little weeding this evening. I don't think I was going to sink, but I sure was going to gather mud on the soles of my shoes!

A related article I read pointed out that most of land involved commodity crops. Animal feed, ethanol, and additives for all the over-processed junk we eat. Exports for China would be affected--but they have already started buying from other countries, thanks to the tariffs. On most farms, the fruits and vegetables are above flood stage. And maybe soaring prices on corn syrup will make folks take another look at fresh food.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Today we got over to southern Illinois, on top of the limestone bluffs that hover over the Mississippi flood plain east of St Louis, Missouri. The crops are incredibly behind. Many fields had soy seedlings so small that I could only discern it as a straight line haze of green following the direction of the slits cut in the soil for seeding by tractor. No one here does anything but no-till anymore, so the small stubble of corn from the previous year towered over the micro-soy. The tallest soy was not enough to cover your shoes if you walked into the filed.

Most corn was only ankle high; though I did see one field that was thigh-high-- only one and it was on a steep hill, on a small farm. They were lucky to have had soil dry enough to plant some time ago. At least in this area I did not see the markedly yellowed corn that I've seen in other floody years. The soil is draining often enough (between rains), long enough that the corn roots can "breathe," which is required in order to take up some of that water and incorporate it into growth. But as I said, the area is limestone bluff. Lots of sink holes and hills so that there is more drainage than down on the flood plain or the flatter plains farther away from the rivers

I also saw fields of grain, brown and ready for harvest if they aren't yet spoiled by the rain. I don't know much about grains, so I don't know how long they can wait. There was an area where on both sides of the road the grains were sheared, so at least one farmer got a harvest. That was hundreds of acres, maybe even a thousand. I can only guesstimate based on a college campus I know f that is 100 acres.

There were really only a few fields that were not planted at all. Those all seem to have been corn last year, so the intention probably was to follow up with soy this year. Actually some of them probably had been planted with unlucky timing so that the seed drowned and rotted. Right across the road from a seed business the field was shiny mud, pooled with water.

I did not get to the area where horseradish is grown. The only place I know to find horseradish is on the low floodplain, but behind the levies. I think horseradish would like this cool spring and frequent rain. I'll look for it later in the summer when I get over there to Illinois.

I felt really sad to see the late and small crops. In this area it is still mostly smallish farms, due to the geography. I am imagining yet more of the land being bought up by agricultural corporate giants. That's why I felt sad.

As for my own little garden, I finally got the sweet potatoes, buttercup squash and delicata squash planted, so that's something.

David Trammel's picture

On top of the bad planting and wet weather this Spring, it looks as if fuel for transportation is going to go up.

'Storm approaching': firms fear for deliveries in shipping shakeup

"U.S. furniture company RC Willey Home Furnishings is so concerned that new global clean air rules will cause transport disruption that it brought forward the shipment of arm chairs and sofas from China by two months. The tougher regulations, set by the United Nations shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), come into force on Jan 1. Costs will rise for ships towards the end of this year and there will be a knock on effect for trucks and other transporters that move goods around the world. For shipping companies it is the biggest shakeup in decades and adds to the pressures of an economic slowdown and the threat of an escalating trade war between the United States and China.

Ship owners must cut sulphur emissions to 0.5% from 3.5%. They can do this by using low-sulphur fuel, installing exhaust gas cleaning systems or opting for other, more expensive, clean fuels such as liquefied natural gas or traveling more slowly. Ship owners must cut sulphur emissions to 0.5% from 3.5%. They can do this by using low-sulphur fuel, installing exhaust gas cleaning systems or opting for other, more expensive, clean fuels such as liquefied natural gas or traveling more slowly.

Trucking companies will also suffer. The IMO rules do not apply to them but they will face new competition from ships for lower sulfur fuel. This is expected to push up the price of diesel fuel for trucks by as much as 100 percent. Small to mid-sized truckers may find it tough as they lack the clout to negotiate fuel deals or to recoup the costs.

“I’m at the whim of the market. All I can do is let the customers know what’s going on,” said Mike Baicher, president and chief executive of New Jersey based West End Express, which runs 90 trucks in New York, New Jersey and along the East Coast.

“There is only so much that the trucking company can absorb.”